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A Slow Weekend in Springfield, IL

by Deborah Cavanaugh-Grant, Slow Food SpringfieldSnail of Approval 2021

Slow Weekends is a travel series from Slow Food USA that highlights businesses that have been awarded the Snail of Approval award. This distinguished recognition is given to food businesses that make meaningful commitments to the environment, local communities, employees and purveyors, and advance justice and work to end oppression in food systems and beyond.

When you think of Springfield, Illinois, you might think of Abraham Lincoln and his presidential accolades. What you might not think of is Lincoln as a “foodie.” In the book Abraham Lincoln in the Kitchen: A Culinary View of Lincoln’s Life and Times, author Rae Katherine Eighmey shares stories about what Lincoln ate, cooked, and served. “By looking at his life through the foods that he ate or may have eaten, or was exposed to, you’re able to build a picture of him as a human man and as a family man,” she says.

Lincoln’s food legacy is alive and well today in Springfield.  

During your visit to the Lincoln sites in downtown Springfield, including the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum, Lincoln Home National Historic Site, and the Old State Capitol, consider dining at one of several of our Snail of Approval winners. These businesses epitomize the Slow Food principles of good, clean and fair food for all.

For a light breakfast, stop by Custom Cup, a micro-roastery owned and operated by Brent and Kendra Boesdorfer that offers fresh-roasted single-origin coffee. Brent and Kendra source coffee from small farms in Africa and Central America based on quality, social responsibility, and environmental sustainability. An in-house bakery prepares delicious breakfast items by Chef Ashley Glatz, including scones, biscuits, bagels, and galettes using ingredients from local farms.  

For a more hearty breakfast, stop by Café Moxo across the street from the Kidzeum of Health and Science, which features breakfast sandwiches, French toast, cheddar bacon biscuits with sausage sage gravy, baked eggs, and oatmeal. Café Moxo also has a delicious lunch menu featuring salads, sandwiches, and soups.  Don’t forget to grab a fresh-baked cookie or two. Cafe Moxo, locally owned and operated by Mark Forinash, is passionate about food, service, employees, and community. In partnership with other area businesses and organizations, Mark and his staff gave hundreds of meals to those in need over the past couple years.

Incredibly Delicious, a French bakery and café located in the historic Weber House near downtown Springfield at 7th and Clay Streets, offers a breakfast salad, assorted croissants, and quiches. Established in 1995 by Patrick Groth, Incredibly Delicious also has a lunch menu featuring salads, sandwiches, and soups. And, of course, desserts — including their Signature Flourless Chocolate Cake and traditional French macarons with buttercream. Incredibly Delicious sells at the Old Capitol Farmers Market and uses locally sourced ingredients to produce local market items every week.

Maldaner’s Restaurant and Catering, established in 1884, is owned and operated by Chef Michael Higgins. Chef Higgins is a seasoned advocate for promoting local food, and opened the first restaurant in Springfield to feature seasonal, local, and regional ingredients including heirloom vegetables and humanely raised meats. Maldaner’s Restaurant lives up to its designation as a certified green business with solar panels, a rooftop garden, and beehives.

If you are visiting on a Wednesday or Saturday from mid-May through the end of October, be sure to check out the Old Capitol Farmers Market at 4th and Adams Streets. Several Snail of Approval winners vend at the market, including 4 Lees Farm, Harvest and Blooms, Moon Girl Farm, and Oak Tree Farms

Hannah Tomlin and Ben Banach, Moon Girl Farm

Hannah Tomlin of Moon Girl Farm shared, “It was a tremendous honor to receive a Snail of Approval from Slow Food Springfield. As a new business, it was very helpful in showing our customers that we are legitimate growers. lt is a symbol of trust, informing customers that we share the same values and mission as other Slow Food members and Snail recipients. We’re very grateful for this award and strive to continuously improve our ability to provide clean, sustainably grown foods to the community.”

Mitch Cave of 4 Lees Farms shared, “It is a great honor to be a Snail of Approval award winner because it ensures that we are doing the right thing by pasture raising our livestock and not using chemicals on our produce to be good stewards of the environment. Growing and raising good clean food for our family and our community is important to us.”

Whether you are visiting Springfield for business or pleasure, for a weekend or a month, rest assured that you will be able to experience an amazing array of restaurants and farms that are living out their good, clean and fair values every day!